All of Him Is More Than Enough

**Originally published June 5, 2015.

The news alert pulled up a random piece of tragedy about an old friend, a few weeks ago. Someone I hadn’t thought of in years, a friend from my original Thursday Morning Bible Study a couple decades ago, in another city. We were pregnant at the same time, had our second children in the same hospital a few months apart, both girls. Hers died unexpectedly, a few weekends ago. I remember her little one vaguely, in the mix of all our kids, but I know where my own girl is and who she has become. I think of all the years of growing up that we have shared since then, and my heart is pierced at the thought of losing her suddenly, and I pray for my long-ago friend whose heart is surely stabbed clean through. I wonder if she has stayed close to the Truth she was searching out, all those years ago, and if she knows Who to cling to.

The other day a more recent friend sent an email about the health problems her girl is facing, fall-out from drugs she was taking to help. Only the doctor didn’t warn her about the long-term effects. It’s a lot for a teenager to deal with, we agreed– as if growing up isn’t hard enough when you are all awkward in-between. There are valuable lessons for her to learn here, a mother knows, if a young girl can grab onto them. And we older women know how life disappoints and twists in unexpected ways, how you can end up in places you never expected, and how fear looms large in the face of all the things you cannot control, cannot fix in this world. But we also know the One who says “It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth, my right hand that spread out the heavens above. When I call out the stars, they all appear in order.” (Isaiah 48:13) So we ask Him to guard a growing girl’s heart and make her strong in relying on Him.

And I think of the mother who is teaching her adopted child what love means, and the mother who is waiting for a C-section and hoping for a healthy baby, and the mother who visits her tiny one every day in the neo-natal unit, and the one who is wondering if she will ever get to be a mother….all our fragile hopes and fears in this world with no guarantees of happy endings. But we have this promise, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We know God and we know His heart of love for us, and we choose to believe that His plans are good, whether or not the process feels that way in the moment we are in. Because trusting Him is the commitment we have made, and He promises to be faithful to us.

Sometimes you read what another person has written and the words leap from the page to your heart, startling in their simplicity and clarity. This writer hit home with her honest assessment of life and faith:

“Being a Christian does not safeguard you from a world of hurt. Jesus Himself promises trials and sorrows. And Jesus Himself hurt. So the big question is, what then is the value of having a relationship with God? If we’re all going to get hit with the same awfulness, all feel the same dark pain, why be in a relationship with God at all?
I guess the answer would be, so you can be in a relationship with God.” (Susie Davis)

And I think I am beginning to see, finally, that a relationship with Him was always the end-goal from His perspective, even though I may have come at it backwards. Through all the American Dreams I have chased down, He was pursuing me; and for every one of life’s let-downs and melt-downs, He was there to wipe my tears and listen to my heart pouring out; and with each disappointment, He offered something deeper, stronger. Patiently, relentlessly, fiercely loving me until I got it. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3) Maybe I needed to see how easily everything-that-looks-real can be shaken, in order to recognize how invisible things can stand: Every bent branch of life that disappoints, and wounds, and leaves us empty and dry… meant to point the way to the Living Water that makes us whole. Every failure and dissatisfaction and longing… meant to push us towards the One whose “steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 100:5), towards Him who said “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)

 And the thing is, it was never a Plan B– the safety net just in case life went sideways; the consolation prize for the broken-hearted. It was His entire Plan from the Beginning to give us Himself and satisfy our hearts. He doesn’t even try to hide it: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3) The question was only ever how long it would take for us to reach out for Him, and to realize that if we have Him, we have Enough.


And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

Isaiah 45:3


I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart, as a seal upon my arm,
For there is love that is as strong as death–
Jealousy, demanding as the grave;
And many waters cannot quench this love.
You won’t relent until You have it all;
My heart is Yours.

Jesus Culture

Of Grace and Second Chances

Sometimes the circumstances of the past invade the Now before we even realize, padding in on the heels of a story, a song, a dream in the night, and suddenly the pain of yesterday is large as life right here, as if the clock had turned back when we weren’t looking. And what is there to do with something that can’t be changed and still cuts as deep as the day it was carved into our hearts?

One precious young sister said it quiet this week on the phone; “I try not to think about it, and maybe it will go away”– except I could hear in her voice that it doesn’t, and all the sweeping-under-the-rug just makes very large lumps in the Everyday. It made me ache with wanting to take that away for her, wash her slate clean for good….and I know how my own slate is marked up with things I keep erasing, until they surface again when least expected. It’s Grace that washes the past away, I told her, because Jesus came to carry that weight of shame, all our not-good-enough, that guilt over bad choices, the regrets that make us long for a do-over, only there isn’t one. And we don’t have to be stuck in our failures, with Jesus there, because He can make our hearts new.

Another friend wondered if she had made a mistake with her children, burdening them too hard with the stuff of life, and how do you even know until you’ve already seen the marks and it’s too late? My heart felt the weight of my own mistakes in mothering, all the things I wish I had understood sooner, and the trying so many wrong paths before I found better ways to do it. It’s Grace that works in our children where we can’t see it, I told her; Grace that makes up for our lack and fills in all the gaps in our understanding, and even if we never get it right, He is making all things good and right for our children in His own way.

Someone in small group shared the emotions she didn’t want to feel, said she had been carrying them long and was looking for something better. I fingered my own scars and it whispered through my heart again, that refrain of Grace taking up our past and all our ugly, Someone big enough to carry it Himself so we could be healed. It’s what He does, I told her– heals us on the inside where only He can see, and He knows what you are going through…it’s why He came for us. “Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down….He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) 

All this Easter week we hold up our weak and hurting places to You, God… our past and our secret places…all our fears and what-ifs, and the things we can’t quite forget or fix…we offer these to You and lay them down at the cross where Grace and Love pour out to make us clean and make us whole. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)  This is Grace healing everything broken and bent, because Jesus was willing to be broken for us. And there’s always a future and a hope where He is.


By nature, God is always either creating or recreating.
He’s making something out of nothing, or He’s restoring what was broken. 

That is who He is. That is what He does. Forever and ever.

Sarah Bourns Crosby


Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.

John 11:25-26

Endings and Beginnings

As always, this change of seasons from Winter to Spring reminds me of the realities of life and death. Of the fact that Life has conquered Death and there is no more fear– just a change. It reads like a song: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)…. just a change from one season to the next, like the way the bulb’s green shoots struggle up through hardened dark earth into the sunshine of Spring. So death turns into life before our eyes in this one season, and we realize what a miracle Easter Sunday is, all over again. We need that reminder as we face the future, and hard seasons yet to come…that it is only one more change and then another, until at last it all turns into Glory.

I talk to the children upstairs in church about the holiday that is coming, and they tell me that what makes it special is candy and hunting for eggs. I loved that about Easter too, when I was four and seven. And the new hat and dress, and carrying the little matching purse. Big family dinner at Grandma’s house, and hunting for the baskets she had hidden for us that were full of candy. Mama’s hyacinths and daffodils lining up along the yard. All that is still Easter in my best memories. But now I am searching for words to explain why we celebrate Easter, and they don’t even know how much it means to have death swallowed up in Life, and grief turned to joy. For now they will have to accept “Easter is the most important day” as yet another mysterious grown-up declaration.

But those of us with older eyes watch the bulbs push their way skyward, and breathe in the scents of a world awaking into life, and we know it is a promise unfolding before us: death is not the end but only a change. Like the Church-planter wrote in one of his letters, “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) It is a declaration of victory that all this dust can change, become something new and better. Spring is our yearly reminder of the most important Easter Day, when Jesus showed us that Winter’s death was no match for God’s resurrection power, and He can bring life to all our dead places.


When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

1 Corinthians 15:54


All around,
Hope is springing up from this old ground;
Out of chaos life is being found in You.
You make beautiful things;
You make beautiful things out of the dust…


A Beautiful and Dangerous Good

This week I heard a worship leader tell his story, how Jesus came and found him when he was wandering lost, and picked him up and carried him safe Home, because He is good like that. And some stranger walked up to us out of the blue the other day and shared how he thought he was doing okay in life until God knocked it all down around his ears, and in the rubble he found faith that could carry him. He told us his thanks to a good God for the ruin that brought about his restoration.

And I see how the same Goodness that gathers up the broken and the desperate also roars in the storm, and still we are loved and we are held. The prophet Isaiah wrote down God’s promise to us: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God…” (Isaiah 43:2-3a) And there is this wild, fierce Love that pursues, that goes to any lengths to obtain our hearts; an inexorable Goodness that will not be satisfied with our comfort or our sincerity, but is willing to see everything on earth shaken for the sake of what will last.

It underscores to me that we don’t always know whether something is good or bad for us until we’ve lived through it and gained the wisdom that comes from time and perspective. It makes me pause on that reaction to call things good or bad because of how I feel about them. I want the Good Shepherd to come find me when I am lost– I am quick to justify the effort spent, the blood spilled– because the result is my rescue. But shouldn’t I also be willing to celebrate when the Good Gardener cuts back the branches– smashes all these pretty idols– so that I can become who He wants me to be? I find my faith is still so small and selfish; it wants what is good for me and only if it is not too difficult.

Jesus said you can recognize Goodness when you see it, because it spends itself for the sake of others: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) This is the axis of our faith, that Love and Goodness has been poured out for us in such unthinkable abundance that there is truly nothing that we need to fear or grasp for, beyond Himself….nothing that can stand against us in all heaven and earth. Or as Paul told the early believers, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) All our faith revolves around the Cross and the earth-shattering event of what Jesus accomplished for us there. So maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that the good and the hard of life look so different now.

If it is true that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” (Romans 8:28) then why should I lose my wits when the things of earth are shaken? Let me rather hold onto Truth and open eyes of faith to see His hand at work everywhere, and no end to His Goodness. If “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,”  then let me stand here in this Love that defies reason, and wait to see what He will do for me in whatever comes. If “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34), then I can trust that I have all I need to live well on this earth.

I feel like a child holding a kaleidoscope up to the Light, and I could spend my whole life gazing at the way He moves. The Musician-King said it best: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)


As the battle rages on,
Looking back at what You’ve done,
I can see Your hand in this–
Peace in every circumstance.
Tie Your truth around my waist;
Safe behind the shield of faith,
I will put Your armour on.
Lead me back to battle strong.

Citipointe Worship


 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Worth Repeating

I see all those voices out there promoting their insight, their experience, their knowledge in living color, chalking up another successful day in pictures. All this confidence and glitter, and the older I get, the more I realize that I have nothing to add to this sea of information and achievement. As the Wise Preacher once said, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) But maybe it is too easy to grow silent under the babel of the big wide world, assume that only the newest and brightest has the right to be heard.

Someone reminded me this week that Truth doesn’t get old, does not lose its value just because it has already been said a million times. The more true it is, the more it bears repeating, and in its consistent Light we are changed into better people: more effective parents, more loyal spouses, better friends, wiser decision-makers, harder workers. Not because we are listening to the right research or the most important influencers, but because the source of that age-old Truth is above all the clamor, stands apart as the Source of life itself. The old prophet is worth quoting: “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)

Don’t we think the Maker should get the first word on what makes us beautiful or what makes our lives worth something? I can read all the resources out there from everyone who knows what they are doing, and learn much from them, but I find that there is only one place to turn when it comes to life-change. And that is what I need, most of all. I need more patience and more kindness for others. I need to be able to forgive and to heal from the hurts of this life. I need humility, and generosity, and hope, and a thousand other character qualities that have nothing to do with information and everything to do with transformation from the inside-out. Like the Church-Planter says, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) It’s not about getting the right life according to the experts. It’s about getting the right heart that knows what real life is: an everlasting life following the One Who matters most.

So maybe you don’t have to be an expert or an influencer to have something worthwhile to say. You just have to know the Truth and be humble enough, brave enough, to keep saying it. In every way you can, to whomever has ears to hear, over and over on repeat. Let God’s wisdom prove its own influence on every situation.


It’s not that we need a new truth or a different truth or different hacks. We need the same truths over and over in whatever the new circumstance is that God has given us.

Laura Jensen


For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.

Proverbs 2:6-8


When the voice of the Accuser echoes in your head, the only way to stand under the onslaught is to plant your feet on the Scriptures and take shelter under the truth of what God said thousands of years ago: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

There is a Love that has no limit, drawn in the black and white lines of the written Word, painted in graphic strokes at the Cross.  “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)

This is reality that does not change, firm ground on which to build a life, no matter how much your feet falter. This is how Paul could say with such unshakeable certainty, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) 

No fiery darts of the Enemy can harm me when I am resting under the shadow of the Almighty One. “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34) Overcoming is nothing more than keeping on till the end, persevering one day at a time until suddenly the race is over. I don’t have to be big and brave, or strong and amazing. Only be His and not get discouraged under the weight of this world.

Some days your heart just needs to cling to the Cross, and gaze at the Savior who loves you more than life, count your soul safe and whole in Him, regardless of how the battle rages all around.


I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul:
Through every storm
I will hold to You.

With endless love
All my fear is swept away;
In everything,
I will trust in You.

There is hope in the promise of the cross:
You gave everything to save the world You love,
And this hope is an anchor for my soul.
Our God will stand

Anchor, Hillsong Worship


And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:2-3

Who Are You?

We are born connected, us women….wired for relationships and emotional sensitivity from the very first day. We are children of the first Woman, who was shaped from the stuff of the only other creature like her, and given the name Helper-who-is-just-right. Like her, we are made to live in relationship to others, and it is in coming alongside others that we find our highest satisfaction and purpose. It is our strength, as women. Maybe that is why we so often define ourselves by those relationships and the roles we fill in the lives of others: daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, grandmother. I know who I am in those frameworks, and it makes me feel safe and loved.

Where does that leave me then, when those roles shift and dissolve, relationships grow or fade or get hopelessly tangled with time, as relationships tend to do… how do I find myself in the muddle, or hang onto a sense of Self that is slipping away in the current of changing circumstances? Who am I, on the inside, when I am alone and quiet at the end of the day– and isn’t it easier just to keep covering up that silent question with rushing around from one thing to the other and shopping and media?

Maybe all that connectivity blinds us to the bigger reality, that man and woman were made to be Image-Bearers, to reflect an invisible God to the rest of creation and rule over it on His behalf. Before I ever connected to any people, or took on any roles in their lives, I belonged to the Creator, was fashioned by His own hands and heart. As the Musician-King David wrote, “…You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb….my frame was not hidden from You when I was being made in secret.” (Psalm 139:13, 15 ) Even more, designed purposefully and skillfully to be in this place at this time in history to do His work here. David speaks plainly of the Creator’s knowledge of each person: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139:16-17)

So where else would I discover who I really am, except from the One who made me and knows me best? I am His craftsmanship– it is He who decided everything from the color of my hair to the details of my personality. When I look at others to tell me who I am, to define me and give my life meaning, am I not putting their perspectives above His? Superimposing the definitions and values of the Created over the blueprint of the Creator King? How easily the strengths we have been given as women can slide down into simple idolatry.

We are born connected to others and the world around us, true. But we are born to be connected to the God who loves us and names us His, first of all, and it is in Him we find out who we really are. We find out who He made us to be– how He sees us– and who we are becoming as we follow Him. And the Church-planter Paul writes about how it is so much more than we ever would have dreamed: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)

So lift up your head and look the world square in the eye, you beautiful creature. You are known intimately by the God of heaven and earth. You are loved with a Forever-love. You have been chosen for a purpose that cannot be taken away.


He whispers in my ear, tells me that I am fearless.
He shares a melody, tells me to repeat it.
And He makes me whole, He reminds my soul-
I am all He says I am…
And He says I am His own.

All he says I am, Gateway Worship


And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

Ephesians 3:18

Reminders for The Race

There is just this to say, to those running hard in the faith-race and maybe losing perspective:

You are never too far along to shed your skin and be made new. And neither is anyone else.  Because “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) He is still calling people closer to Him and He will not stop till the final breath. Don’t give up on our ability to change, in the Creator’s hands.

God’s promises are not too big for ordinary people to lay hold of. His resurrection power is at work in this world, and in us, whether or not we have eyes to see it. He is the Creator of all this ordinary who says “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), and promises that He is working every last little thing into His good plans for us, and the ordinary will all be made extraordinary, in the end. That’s why Jesus came down here, remember? “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

The words He gave us are not simply inspiring thoughts and lofty ideals. No, they are  breathed out by His Spirit into the concrete limits of ink and paper, and yet by His power remain “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword…and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) They are wisdom and reality, meant for us to take hold of and put into practice, despite what society may call normal and our experiences may tell us to settle for.

Just because you haven’t found your happy ending, doesn’t mean there is no such thing…and let me tell you this: your story is not over yet. Life in this world may have wounded and disappointed, time and again, and I know what it is to build walls against the hurt, and to learn to walk carefully, but how can you live Real and still keep the deepest places walled up?  There is a choice there, and you have to know there is Someone who intends to be those protecting walls for you– the sooner you learn to run to Him as a safe place to hide, the healthier your heart will be.

The Musician-King knew all about loneliness, and grief, and betrayal, and his songs are about his own real life journey: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him….He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (Psalm 91:1-2, 4) God defines what is right and good and beautiful and true with the Person of Jesus, and all this is His Story, from beginning to end– the Hero who slays the dragon, rescues the girl, and brings her home to His Father the King to live happily-ever-after.

See, when you are still in the middle of your story, where the action and the conflict is, it is easy to forget that all of us Jesus-followers get happy endings. What you see now is only a few chapters so far, and all the characters aren’t even fully developed yet. The Author is the only One who sees the entire story from Beginning to End– so don’t get sidetracked, muddling through the pages, and conclude this is all there is. I’m with the Church-Planter Paul, on this one: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) 

So pick yourself up when people disappoint, and life hurts… and keep on running. Fasten your eyes on Jesus, pour out your heart to Him, and don’t give up. “…Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5) 

Remind each other of this, and keep on keeping on.


Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25


Your vow’s a covenant unbroken
You’ve made it known through history
Your love will never be unfaithful
Never walk out on me…
I have no reason to doubt you
Who You’ve been You’ll always be
And though the future’s still unfolding
With everything I’ve seen
How could I not believe?

You are a promise keeper
Your word will never fail

Promise Keeper, Hope Darst

The Kind of Woman God Can Use

We talk in our small group about how to be a woman that pleases God– often hesitantly, all too aware of how we might not measure up, comparing ourselves to others as women tend to do, and the unspoken worry running underneath…what if the way I am made can never be good enough? And I look around the circle at these women, so different but for their desire to do well for their families and please their Creator, and I wish I could speak straight into their hearts that they are made the way they are by God’s design.

We all get that ideal woman in our heads sometimes (probably an amalgamation of every woman we ever admired, real or fictional, and believe me, I know how exhausting it is to try to live up to that). But let me say it straight out that God has no such illusions, and He knows perfectly well who you are and what you can do. There is actually no perfect wife or mother out there to compare yourself to, and there are no absolute standards for personality or abilities. There is just each one of us…with our own strengths and weaknesses…put in a particular place at a specific time…and created to do the certain things God has for us to do here. Each one completely known and treasured by Him. Jesus said it this way: “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) 

The person you are was hand-made by a God who saw you and loved you before anyone else did. He wired us all with endless diversity of expression. More importantly, the genetic traits that shape our bodies and minds, and the family influences that mold our thoughts are only the beginning. Like Paul says, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) What freedom and abundance we are gifted with, at our second birth!

When we choose to follow after Him, He gives us so much more to work with: principles of beauty, guidelines of wisdom, boundaries of living well…. and then He says “Go and be yourself, fully alive in the power of my Spirit, the way I intended you to be.”

So the speak-before-you think one learns to listen. And the people-pleaser learns to set healthy boundaries. And the take-charge one learns to follow another’s lead. Each of us learning to serve and to surrender. Each of us choosing to put to death our own selfish bent. Each of us practicing obedience to God– whatever that may look like, moment by moment. No question that each of us will wrestle with our own private fears and our own personal griefs…no two alike, so no comparing of skill or blessing or gain. Better to focus instead on the wonderful truth that God sees and hears all of us. “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.” (Psalm 139:1-2) 

And I can look around the room and see how there is a beauty that grows in a woman as she grows closer to Jesus. It’s a light in her eyes and a softness in her manner that shows she has been in the presence of Grace. It has nothing to do with whether she tends to be talkative or reserved, organized or flighty. It is not a matter of personality but a matter of spirit. It is all about the company we keep and how we are growing. Again Paul writes, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

I wish I could tell them all how they shine in His light.


For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14-15


My heart and my soul,
I give you control;
Consume me from the inside out, Lord.
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace,
To love you from the inside out….
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out,
Lord, my soul cries out.

From The Inside Out, Hillsong

Trusting Love

Originally published on February 3, 2012.

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me “I have trust issues,” I would be rich right now. And besides, don’t we all, in one way or another? Especially after this last year of world-wide upheaval and craziness. When I look around at all the ways our broken hearts hurt each other…and the sting of rejection each of us has felt for not being Enough …and the sheer insistence on self-promotion and self-interest and self-wellbeing in every area of life, the real question is how any of our scarred, let-down, betrayed hearts could be healed enough to trust. And it is a vital question, because our very lives depend on it. I keep thinking of how Jesus pulled a little child close and told the disciples: “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). If it takes the innocence and inexperience of a small child, we are all of us coming much too late to the table.

But what if trust is not a matter of how much we know of life’s ugliness, but how well we know we are deeply loved? What if it is not about keeping a heart whole, but about giving up trying, and accepting the brokenness and the weakness as the reason to run to Someone Bigger? It is the humility and transparency of a child that brings us to the Kingdom; the utter unselfconsciousness of knowing our need and knowing that we belong to Someone who will take care of us. In the kingdom, trust equals surrender to the King, and it makes me think that often our trust issues are more a matter of how well we know HIm and what we believe about Him.

I often think of Amy Carmichael, a pastor’s kid in the mid-1800s, who grew up involved in ministry to the poor of Northern Ireland– a girl who knew the presence of God from childhood.  When she was 20 she heard the missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor (founder of China Inland Mission) speaking in England, and followed God’s call into missions work herself.  Not to China, but to India, where her heart was torn open at the discovery of young girls sold into prostitution in the Hindu temples. The Dohnavur Fellowship that she began there, soon became orphanage and school and home to eventually over a thousand children that she rescued, all of whom called her Amah (“mother”). It is an inspiring story, but what stands out about her most is the intimacy of her relationship with God and how it shaped and defined her life.

Amy was sickly and weak all her adult life, never married, a prolific writer from her bed where she was often confined, loving and self-giving, and brave as a lion when it came to rescuing a child who needed help.  She once said that missions work was “a chance to die”….to self, to comfort, to all but the love and life of the Savior.  And in that hot, dusty, hard place in southern India, she found the love of God a never-ending fountain of Living Water, enough to quench her own thirst and enough to heal the hurting children she loved.

Despite the poverty and disease and children bearing unthinkable things, Amy could say “…cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.” She devoted her life to pursuing her Savior and loving others as He had loved her. She saw the reckless love of God that leaves Heaven to find the lost sheep; she knew His heart, and could not say no when He said Go to far-away India to rescue the little ones sold into slavery. That same endless love runs to the ends of the earth for me, to redeem my life from the darkness. And I hear the Beloved Disciple John’s words: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9)  How could we not trust a love like that?

Amy Carmichael spelled out faith like this: “…we trust all that the love of God does; all He gives, and all He does not give; all He says, and all He does not say.  To it all we say, by His loving enabling, I trust.  Let us be content with our Lord’s will, and tell Him so….The more we understand His love, the more we trust.” (Edges of His Ways, p.175) Giving up control to someone else is easy when that Someone loves you more than His own life, when you know Him well enough to put all your doubts to rest.

I choose to trust You today, Lord; help me to trust You more.  Not only what You bring to my doorstep, but also the things You say No to.  I trust that You are good and that You love me deeply, and that the things You give me are what I should have this day, no matter whether they seem happy or sad.  Even when things don’t make sense, I choose to say I trust You just because I know Your love.

**For more about Amy Carmichael, read A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliot.


I wait for You now
Like the desert waits for the rain;
Like a child at the end of the day
I know You’ll come through.
I trust what You say,
As a treasure no one can take;
Every word so steady and safe
You always come through.
And all You’ve ever shown
Is love that’s willing to go
To the ends of the earth for me.
And all I’ll ever need
Is who You are to me
This love that’s willing to reach
To the ends of the earth for me.

Coming Through, Kim Walker-Smith


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  

Ephesians 3:14, 16-19